A 38-year-old homeless man, Jared Rennick, told the Globe Tuesday that he needed the wheelchair that was destroyed, along with the backpack that held all of his possessions.
The man uses a cane to walk, back brace and a walking boot since he was run over by a car last month. "It was heartbreaking to speak with Jared, who lost not only his wheelchair but everything he owns,” homeless advocate Cassie Hurd tweeted.
According to Hurd, in spite of pleas from Rennick’s partner to the police, and the fact he wasn’t there at the moment, officers threw away the wheelchair and the possessions.
This assault on the handicapped homeless citizens was part of “Operation Clean Sweep" that began last Friday, which witnesses said involved about a dozen police cars and Department of Public Works trucks.
“That is not protocol and that is not supposed to be happening, and we’re going to work with the Police Department to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Marty Martinez, Boston’s chief of health and human services, adding the disposal of wheelchairs should not have happened at a community meeting in the South End Wednesday evening.
The ‘reasoning’ for the police was to “clean up” Methadone Mile, a stretch of the city known for a number of clinics and treatment centers for addicts as well as having a high concentration of homeless population.
"Mass removing homeless people (e.g. human beings) and calling it 'operation clean sweep' (the obvious implication being said human beings are trash) is genocidal rhetoric and it's disturbing no one in Boston government or media feels the need to point this out," media reporter Adam Johnson told Common Dreams.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, there were approximately 552,830 people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. on a single night in 2018.
Yet the wealth inequality between rich and poor continue to widen. If current rates in the U.S. continue, the richest ten percent will own 100 percent of the wealth by 2052, according to an analysis published Sunday by Dallas Morning News finance columnist Scott Burns.